Lawyers representing former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva turned to United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva to denounce “illegal acts” and what they consider to be judicial persecution at the hands of Judge Sergio Moro, who is presiding over a corruption investigation involving the state oil company.
Moro, who is popular amongst conservatives in Brazil, has been accused of deliberately targeting politicians connected to the Workers' Party.
The judge infamously released a taped conversation between Lula and President Dilma Rousseff, leaked as alleged evidence that his appointment to her cabinet was a move to guard him from prosecution.
That recording was made after the warrant authorizing the wiretap had expired and was widely seen as an effort to prevent Lula from being allowed to serve on Rousseff's cabinet.
As a result, the Supreme Court at first said Moro could not preside over the investigation into Lula before ultimately returning the probe into his hands and ruling the wiretap as inadmissible.
Lula's lawyers at the Human Rights Committee specified that the former president is not opposed to being investigated and supports the fight against corruption, but insisted that it be carried out in an impartial manner.
The petition presented at the Human Rights Commission alleges that Moro is not “impartial” and therefore should not be able to continue in that role.
“The danger of Judge Moro is that his unjust and illegal actions will be counterproductive and will harm the fight against corruption in the long run,” said Cristiano Zanin, one of Lula's lawyers.
According his legal team, Moro, as a result of his actions, had “irreparably” damaged his ability to preside over the investigation.
The former president's lawyers allege that the Brazilian judicial system left them no other option but to turn to an international body.
Lula fiercely professes his innocence, saying that the accusations of corruption leveled against him have no basis in fact and no proof has been offered that can tie him to the scandal involving the state-owned oil company, Petrobras.
His lawyers warned that Lula could be detained at any time under Moro's orders, despite the fact that Lula has not been convicted of any crime.